Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3 Remarkable Books on the Story of the Universe

1. The Universe Is a Green Dragon, A Cosmic Creation Story, by Brian Swimm
In this book the author tells the cosmic creation story in conversational style. He calls the two speakers THOMAS and YOUTH. By THOMAS he honors Thomas Berry and his well-known cosmological tradition. It was Berry who suggested that the story of the universe be told "with a feel for its music." The other human is called YOUTH ", to remind us that "the human species is the youngest, freshest, most immature, newest species of all the advanced life forms in the planet. We have only just arrived."

A specialist in mathematical cosmology, Swimm has a doctorate in gravitational dynamics and physics, has taught mathematics, literature and cosmology, and is presently director of the Center for the Story of the Universe in San Francisco. He is also a story teller. Sit back and enjoy the story of the cosmic creation in this unique conversational style,--and Swimm's reason for calling the Universe a Green Dragon.

2. Born With A Bang, Book One of the series "The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story", written by Jennifer Morgan and illustrated by Dana Lynne Andersen. It is "A Sharing Nature With Children Book," dedicated to "the consummate original artist who has made all worlds beautiful: That Radiant Divine Intelligence whose center is everywhere, circumference nowhere." - " May our eyes be opened to behold the abounding magnificence of creation, the mysterious majesty of matter, energy and consciousness."

The storyteller is the Universe itself, speaking to its "Dearest Earthlings", with the first book dated about 13 billion years A.B.B. (After Big Bang). The format and simple language of this series, plus the fantastic multicolor illustrations on every page, give the appearance of children's books--which they are--but the information is also very adult, as you will find on reading them..

3. From Lava to Life, Book Two of the same series, with the same author and illustrator, again with the Universe as the storyteller. Along with the other books in the series, it combines "Once upon a time" with science, which "will captivate children on our earth before there were any children at all." Another comment calls them "A primer for children of the 21st century, and a must for all of us."--And another --"The story of life is, quite simply, the greatest story ever told…and here is the greatest telling." So read these marvelous books, and read them to your children, as " they should be heard and not only read."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Journeys of Courage, Remarkable Stories of the Healing Power of Community by Joy Carol

"A superbly crafted collection of moving stories to inspire all of us!" --Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The dramatic stories that illustrate healing through community action are of dedicated people, suffering themselves, who deal with two major world disasters: first, the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001; and second, a huge economic boom in the Irish Republic within the past few decades that had a great impact on the national economy, on the Church and other institutions and on the lives of the people.

Stories during the "9-11" attack in New York and the restoration include the heroism of Firefighters, of whom hundreds died in saving the lives of others, the Bagpipers, who lifted everyone's spirits, the many vendors who provided food for the workers, those who spent endless hours searching for survivors and notifying families of the dead and missing, those who "cleared the sacred ground", who maintained a haven for those who needed it, those who prayed and consoled the grieving …unsung heroes who offered support from around the world.

In Ireland, the impact of the economic boom -- with rampant consumerism, spiraling costs, stress, anxiety, breakdown of family life, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and domestic abuse--wreaked havoc on Irish society and its people. Sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy added to the grief. Bishop Willie Wash, a humble and courageous leader, did much to heal the wounds in the church, and others through community action brought about healing in society.

Prisons were crowded, many of them with pitiful conditions. But a few remarkable penal systems were established, an addiction center and a prison for women called "Dochas Center (Irish for "Hope") .One with the philosophy "based on promoting the good in people, giving them the opportunity to do something positive, "to develop their humanity,." Another man, a Governor," led a crusade to educate the world about treating all people with dignity and respect." These and other attempts by individuals and communities gradually began to heal of Ireland's wounds.

In the 1800's a violent conflict began between "Unionists" and "Nationalists" in Northern Ireland called "The Troubles"(with the deaths of over 3,600; and 25,000 wounded and maimed…of a total number of only 1.6 million.) No one in this small area escaped the violence and trauma of these thirty years. In 1995 a Survivors of Trauma Center was established, and shortly after, the Corrymeela Community, that became a shining light of healing and reconciliation. As members of this community, their stories of family and friends, real-life experiences during the "Troubles", healing happened.

Joy Carol, author of Journeys of Courage, became a member of the Corrymeela Community, and she ends by saying that hearing these stories while doing her research and writing the book has been a great grace for her, as it can be for us, her readers. She ends with a series of questions that can serve as a guide for our own courage, growth and transformation.